You can listen to this article as part of a podcast on The Neurodivecast by Alex Kronstein. Click << here >> to open the podcast site in a new window. This article is read second and begins five and a half minute into the episode. Keep listening for other excellent articles on the topic of ABA and behaviour modification therapy.
You can read this article in Spanish by << clicking here >> to visit the site Traduciendo Autistas
“But it works”
It’s the most common reply I see from parents when autistic adults express opposition to behaviour modification therapy. I hear them tell the story of what has been achieved since their child has been in therapy, in order to convince others that they are wrong about the abusive nature of therapies like ABA. As I’ve listened I realise there is a lot of evidence supporting their claims, so I can only conclude that behaviour modification therapy does get the results parents want.
I received a message this morning, letting me know about an article on the FaceBook page of the Department of Education and Training in Queensland’s Autism Hub.
The article is upsetting in a number of ways. It contains misinformation, stereotyping, lots of negative language, and lots of blaming autistic people for their parents unhappiness and stress.
Have you seen the comments about people with “special needs”? You know, the ones where people point out that having “special needs” kids is a “gift” that makes us “stronger”, “better people” and is “so hard” but “definitely worthwhile”?
How about the conversations about how supporting an adult with “special needs” makes a person “heroic” and “patient” and “good”?
When I was in primary school, I went to stay with my grandparents one night that I have not forgotten, even 30 or so years later. Last week I received a message on my blog that I doubt I will ever forget. The two events are separated by decades, but remembering the first just after the occurrence of the second started a chain of thoughts that brought me to a place of realisation I was not expecting.
Every now and then, not really frequently, but often enough that I am going to say something about it, I see a sentiment brought into conversations by non-autistic parents of Autistic children that goes along the lines of ….
I know we can’t change the past. I know that things in our past help us become who we are, and that is often a really positive thing. I know hindsight gives clarity and we probably shouldn’t spend too much time looking back with regret. But I have to admit I’m feeling angry about something that has happened, and happens to lots of people, that has meant I missed out on something really good for a long time. Looking back could be dangerous if we dwell there and don’t move on, but if we are willing I think there is something to be learned from it.
There is something about growing, changing, identifying parts of yourself that you had not recognised, that is deeply unsettlingly liberating. I have been struggling to put words to it. Then today, this beautiful butterfly sat in my path.
I am tired. So, so tired.
It is not a lack of sleep tiredness, but a heaviness in the core of my being kind of tiredness.
It is a tiredness that comes from trying to process a consistent incongruence, as if the soundtrack doesn’t match the story, and it makes everything seem wrong.
This post carries a trigger warning for discussion about abuse of disabled children and people sympathising with their abusers.
Apparently lots of people think it is ok to feel sorry for people who abuse their Autistic children because there is a “lack of services” available.
Let me be clear: I wholeheartedly disagree.